Oral Presentation- Symposium 12th International Mammalogical Congress

The endemic New Guinean dasyurid marsupial genus Murexia. How many species? (#121)

Patricia A Woolley 1 , Michael Westerman 1 , Carey Krajewski 2
  1. La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  2. Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois, United States of America

Five species are currently recognized within the endemic New Guinean dasyurid marsupial genus Murexia: namely longicaudata, habbema, melanurus, naso and rothschildi (Baker, 2015). The identity and inter-relationships of these species have been confused in the recent past by the use of separate generic epithets for some of them (Micromurexia for habbema, Murexechinus for melanurus, Phascomurexia for naso and Paramurexia for rothschildi). Our morphological studies suggest that a revision of the taxonomy of these dasyurids is required.

A new molecular database that includes both nuclear and mitochondrial genes has been assembled for multiple exemplars of each of the five taxa to cover as much of their geographic range as is possible with available material. The resulting phylogenetic tree suggests that not only do the current five species form a monophyletic clade with at least three of the widespread species (longicaudata, naso, and melanurus) showing major genetic variation that is consistent with the distribution of different morphological forms.